What is a Dosha?

A dosha is one of three substances that are present in our bodies. Ayurveda describes how the quantity and quality of these three substances fluctuates in the body, according to the seasons, time of day and diet.

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The central concept of Ayurvedic medicine is the theory that health exists when there is balance between the three doshas, which are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

  • Vāta or Vata (airy element). Is characterised by properties of dry, cold, light and movement. All movement in the body is due to the property of vata.
  • Pitta is the fiery element or bile that’s secreted between the stomach and bowels and flowing through the liver and permeating spleen, heart, eyes, and skin; It is characterised by hotness, moist, liquid, sharp and sour, its chief quality is heat. It is the energy principle which uses bile to direct digestion and enhance metabolism. It is primarily characterised by body heat or burning sensation and redness
  • Kapha is the watery element, it is characterised by heaviness, cold, tenderness, softness, slowness and the carrier of nutrients. It is the nourishing element of the body. All the soft organs are made by kapha, it plays an important role in taste perception and joint health.

Doshas are the forces that create the physical body, they determine our conditions of growth and aging, health and disease. Typically, one of the three doshas predominates and determines your constitution or mind-body type. By understanding our individual habits, emotional responses, and body type, we can adapt our yoga practice accordingly. The same goes for Ayurveda treatments focused on alleviating any doshic excesses (illness) via powerful herbs and/or via the improvement of general lifestyle practices such as pranayama, meditation and yoga postures.

Something will indicate when you have an excess of a dosha, as it throws your system off-balance. For example, with excess vata, there can be anxiety and digestive disorders, including low energy and weakening of body tissues. With excess pitta, there is toxic blood that gives rise to inflammation and infection. With excess kapha, there is an increase in mucus and a tendency to be overweight. The key to managing all doshas is taking care of vata, as it is the origin of the other two.

Prana, Tejas and Ojas

Yoga is an alchemical process of balancing and transforming energies of the psyche. At the root of vata, pitta and kapha are its subtle counterparts called prana, tejas and ojas. Unlike the doshas, which in excess create diseases, these promote health, creativity and well-being.

Prana is our life force and is the healing energy of vata (air)

Tejas is our inner radiance and is the healing energy of pitta (fire)

Ojas is the ultimate energy reserve of the body derived from kapha (water)

Ayurveda seeks to reduce disease, in particular those that are chronic and to increase positive health in body and mind via these three vital essences that aid in renewal and transformation. Increased Prana gives us more enthusiasm, adaptability and creativity, all necessary when pursuing our spiritual path, in yoga this force is necessary to enable us to perform. Tejas provide us with courage, fearlessness and insight, important when taking decisions. Lastly, ojas gives us peace, confidence and patience to keep our development consistent and avoid giving up. Eventually, the most important element we want to develop is Ojas as it gives us physical and psychological endurance. This can be achieved via the right diet, tonic herbs, control of the senses, and devotion.

Rachel x

Meditations for Vatas: 4 Healing Techniques for the Wandering Mind

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Some people naturally have trouble concentrating, but Vatas especially tend to have a difficult time , I know this for a fact as it’s my primary Dosha!

Vatas have a predominance of air and space, they usually have more trouble grounding themselves than other doshas. Vatas are known to be creative, communicative, changeable, quick, and spontaneous, none of which is particularly helpful when it comes to centering.

In truth, meditation is beneficial even when you don’t think it is. The effort itself is a worthy pursuit, and eventually it does get easier. By witnessing your inner world and bringing your awareness to your thoughts, no matter how random or continuous, you are expanding your consciousness.

Even though you don’t feel completely at one with the universe from a 10-minute meditation session, doesn’t mean it’s not working. A lot of the time what you must deal with most when developing a regular practice are your own personal levels of mental overload. For those with a predominance of Vata, this can be even harder to overcome.

Here are some meditation tools that can help the busy-brained Vata.

Meditative Music or Sounds

There is an array of meditative music and nature sounds that can be found on the web these days. Often used as a sleep aid, these sounds can help calm the Vata mind. Specifically nature sounds are effective in helping you find your centre. If you’re someone who has a hard time sitting still, try filling the silence with beautiful relaxing sounds. Several different sounds can be used to aid in meditation such as chimes, chants, instrumentals, and nature. Explore these options and find one that works best for you. Any sound that puts you in a relaxed mood is good.

Colouring

Yes, you read that right, colouring! Just as this activity may have calmed you as a child, it can still help you as an adult. Colouring is especially helpful when you pair it with some of my other suggestions. For example, you could colour whilst listening to a nature soundtrack. You can colour any pictures that you want, but I recommend choosing images that incit calm and peace. Also the more detailed the picture the better. This allows your mind to get lost in what you’re doing.

Spend Silent Time in Nature

In general, you should spend as much time in nature as possible. So many benefits come from making a regular practice of being out in the natural world. When it comes to meditation, there’s really no better place. Even if you struggle with closing your eyes and stilling your thoughts with a mantra, you can use some quiet time in nature to help bring yourself to a place of peace.

Find a favorite spot, maybe near water or in an open field, or even in dense forest. If you sit still and observe, you may not need to close your eyes at all. Just be silent and experience your surroundings. This has a very calming therapeutic effect on the mind and spirit. Appreciating the beauty of creation is in effect its own form of meditation. For those whose minds typically run wild, being IN the wild as a silent observer can counteract this tendency.

Chanting

Chanting has been used since ancient times as a means of tuning into our higher selves. For some, the overactive Vata mind that keeps one from reaching their inner stillness can be quieted with sound. Similar to how you use a mantra in silence, you can chant a mantra out loud. By repeating the chant numerous times, you will eventually zone out. The repetition, much like routine within your lifestyle, can be very effective in balancing Vata. Once you become aware that you’re zoning out, that’s a good time to stop and sit in silence, allowing your mind to be in the calm.

Explore a variety of chants to find the best ones for you. Some people choose Sanskrit terms, while others use affirmations, or simply words that they wish to encourage in their consciousness. Whatever your choice, keep it light; there’s no need to place too much thought into it. Remember the chant is not the focus, so much as the place of stillness that you’re trying to reach.

With enough practice and experimentation, you too can become a powerful meditator and bring balance to your life. Don’t fight your Vata tendencies, instead use them to your advantage. Meditation is an act of letting go. Try these techniques to keep yourself from engaging with those wandering thoughts and you might just be amazed at the ease you will begin to find your centre and inner stillness.

Rachel x

Jennifer Young: Beauty Despite Cancer

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I recently had product training with Jennifer Young Skincare and wanted to share with you all about the products and the brand.

Before the training I had never heard of Jennifer Young Skincare but was blown away by their products, treatments and empathy. All their products are made using organic and natural ingredients which have been carefully selected and formulated for women being treated for cancer or who have recently gone through treatment.

I choose to share with you about these products and treatments as it is a subject that hits close to home.

As some of you may be aware I have multiple Autoimmune conditions, including Psoriatic Arthritis. The treatment of which is similar in it’s affects as chemotherapy, in fact one drug I have previously been on is Methotrexate which is a chemotherapy agent and immune system suppressant. At high doses Methotrexate is used to treat cancers that include Breast Cancer, Leukaemia and Lung Cancer. At lower doses it is used for medical abortions and to treat types of autoimmune diseases such as Arthritis. Other drugs used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as steroids and anti TNF biological therapies, all have the same affect to hair, skin and nails as chemotherapy. Being a woman and having to deal with changes caused by medication you can see why it hit close to home and why I wanted to share about these products!

One of the things I have found is that at a time when you become even more concerned with your appearance and want help managing changes you are often denied beauty or spa treatments. I have even had to sign a waiver at a spa once just to be able to use the facilities! Rest assured the treatments and products that I am sharing about are specifically targeted at anyone with cancer or like myself living with a chronic condition and will soon be available at Uniquely Organic EcoSpa.

There will be five treatments available:

  • Glowing Facial
  • Indulgent Massage
  • Top to Toe
  • Specialist Manicure
  • Specialist Pedicure

The subtle but key differences with the Jennifer Young treatments are that the therapists touch is lighter, there is an increased standard of hygiene with immunosuppressed clients in mind, suitable for those diagnosed with cancer and in active treatment, fuller consultations to better understand any adaptations needed for client comfort, deeply relaxing and using specially formulated products to target specific skin needs such as dryness or itching.

The products used are suitable for men and women and there are two ranges, Defiant Beauty for use during cancer treatment and Beyond Beauty for use after medical treatment has finished. Both ranges use naturally nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, mango butter, coconut oil, calendula oil, vitamin e and apricot kernel oil.

All products used during treatment will be available to buy and use at home, they will be fairly priced and a little goes a long way so the products last – I can’t wait to experiment and try out even more of the products!

Keep your eyes peeled for the launch date of these very special treatments and products!

Rachel X

 

 

Living Nature Bee Venom Mask.

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I am currently obsessed with Living Nature’s organic Bee Venom Mask! It combines bee venom with natural botanicals of organic Manuka Honey and certified organic coconut oil to create a mask that plumps, tightens, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, giving skin a healthy glow.

It uses a certified organic cotton fibre mask to deliver nourishment and active bee venom, providing a pleasant warming sensation once applied.

It’s formulated for all skin types and has been made from the highest quality ingredients. It is also the perfect anti-ageing treatment, made in New Zealand from 100% natural and organic ingredients.

Living Nature’s Bee Venom Mask is available as a box of six or an individual sachet.

Warning: Not suitable for anyone with bee-related allergies.

Rachel x

 

Please note I was not paid for any endorsement of this product.

World Book Day & My Upcoming Spiritual Book Group

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As today is World Book Day and my Spiritual Book Group starts next week it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share with you about my new group and the books we will be discussing.

Most of the books that I read are about spiritual or personal development and this has been the case now for a while, however they are definitely not the only books that I read! I recently finished ‘The Penguin Lessons’ by Tom Mitchell and utterly loved it!

I have always been a bit of a bookworm, even as a child and decided late last year that I wanted to set up a book group so that I could share my passion for books with others.

My aim for the group is to be able to bring together like minded individuals for an hour, once a month to discuss books that inspire spiritual and personal development in a friendly and informal setting. The monthly meetings will be held at Uniquely Organic EcoSpa and numbers will be kept small, I will also be making a cake to share and cups of tea will be available too!

The first few books I have selected for the group are books that I have recently read and really enjoyed:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Material Girl, Mystical World by Ruby Warrington

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

There are still a few spaces left if you would like to join us next week for a slice of cake, a cup of tea and a chat!

Rachel x